Family Weekender: Washington, D.C.

Fauquier County Horse Country
By Mary Burnham
Go Guide: Fauquier County Horse Country
Who can go : Ages 10 and up.
Activities : Horseback riding, fly fishing, off-road Jeep tours, hiking.
Distance from D.C.: 1 hour.
Getting there : From the beltway, take I-66 west to exit 27. Right on Route 647 for four miles; right on Route 635 for nine miles; right on Route 726 for 1.5 miles.
Contact : Marriott Ranch Trail Rides at (540) 364-2627, or visit
Reference : Capital Horse Country by Jackie C. Burke (Howell Press, 800-868-4512).
Extra treats : Do your cowpokes need a place to bed down? The Inn at Fairfield Farm on Marriott Ranch will more than suffice, with fine dining and accommodations in a manor house or cottage, (877) 324-7344. You'll be treated right: The ranch was owned by none other than J. Willard Marriott Sr., founder of Marriott International.

Tired of hearing, "Daddy, I want a horse!"?

Give your little city slickers a taste of the equestrian life without the huge investment. It's just a furlong or two from D.C. to horse country and a Western-style trail ride across thousands of acres of bucolic Virginia meadows and foothills, with the misty Blue Ridge Mountains looming as a backdrop.

The Marriott Ranch offers 90-minute rides for less than $30 a person on a 4,200-acre ranch. For riders age 10 and older, rides depart three times a day, Tuesday through Sunday. Younger kids can take a pony ride, a great introduction for beginners.

For those age 16 and up, there's a schedule of special rides: moonlight, river, mountain, and overnight rides — even a cattle drive! The working farm has more than 1,500 head of horses, along with a mock western town visited via a five-minute hay-wagon ride.

The ranch can also arrange fly-fishing lessons with all gear provided, as well as off-road Jeep trips.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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